Southern, Webb advance to tourney final

Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:41 PM

With his team up 6-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Southern Vance pitcher Montavis Gray found himself in a tight spot Friday against Northern Vance.

Northern had the bases loaded with no outs. But the Raiders’ right-hander got out of the jam, striking out three consecutive batters to exit the Webb Easter Tournament inning unscathed.

Gray went the distance in a 7-2 win for Southern, striking out 10 while allowing two unearned runs as steady rain fell at Granville Athletic Park. The Raiders advanced to the championship game Saturday at 7 p.m. against host J.F. Webb.

“He goes out there and he gets the things done that he needs to do,” Southern head coach Eric Faucette said of Gray. “And he does it for his team — he doesn’t do it for himself — he does it for the guys playing behind him.”

The guys playing behind Gray were methodical at the plate, scratching runs across in a variety of ways including three via sacrifice groundouts.

Southern improved to 2-6 on the season, rebounding from a 10-3 loss to Webb on Thursday.

“We’re finally starting to figure things out,” said Faucette. “We’re finally starting to make things click.”

It hasn’t been completely clicking for Northern (3-4), which dropped its third game in three days. The Vikings fell in extra innings at Cedar Ridge Wednesday before watching their tourney opener Thursday against Granville Central slip away in the seventh inning.

“We just didn’t show up to play,” Northern head coach Benji Nelson said of Friday’s game.

Kevonte Hanks, the Vikings’ starting pitcher, drove in a run in the fifth and Chris Paulson knocked one in in the seventh.

Southern got four runs in the first and one in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

Gray, Chris Harris and David Adcock each had two hits for the Raiders.

“It feels good,” Faucette said of the win. “Yes, it’s a rivalry game. But my whole objective for the entire year is to get these guys on the same page, let them know that they can play together as a team, get them to feel what it’s like to be a part of a real ball club.”

Warriors pick up third straight win

Webb improved to 2-0 in its tournament Friday with a 12-1 win over Raleigh Enloe. That gives the Warriors three consecutive victories and puts them in the championship match Saturday against Southern Vance.

Webb ace Kaleb Fisher left after the first inning with an arm injury, but Brian Hughes performed well in relief. Hughes, a sophomore, finished out the five-inning game for the Warriors (5-4) and struck out three while walking two batters.

“We’re having some young kids step up and fill spots and we haven’t missed a beat in the last three games,” said Webb head coach Mike Carroll. “Hopefully we can take that into tomorrow and win a championship and carry it over after spring break and make some noise in the conference.”

Ethan Bailey led Webb with a double and three RBIs. Taylor Williams and Zach Harris also added hits for the Warriors.

Webb started the tournament with a 10-3 win over Southern Vance on Thursday. That followed a 15-8 Big Eight Conference win over Southern Durham to start the week.

“I think they’re realizing we can do it,” Carroll said of his team. “The confidence in the way we carry ourselves and the way we’re making plays on the field — it’s making a difference.”

Note: The final day of the tournament will be moved to Monday in the event of inclement weather.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.